Imagine a black metal video shoot – medium-to-zero budget – complete with (roadside) cliffside setting, bullet belts, unnecessarily spiky attire, and the rest. You already half know what the song is gonna sound like. Norway’s Attan doesn’t sound anything like that. Instead, imagine a fan full of bodies and gear, breezing past blasting Earth Crisis and Darkthrone in unison. They kick up a dust cloud and shower the black and white corpses of Flezgorot or whatever, driving off at a safe and legal speed on their way to three shows in 24 hours. Or something like that, it’s your imagination. Euro metalcore adjacent black metal that grinds with a wide spectrum of vocal stylings? Ya. We can work it out together.
Getting right into it, I was not prepared for enjoying the vocals on this record. On top of what you will later be informed as more than your average hardcore, the range of voices and sounds used on End of. is the real blackened cherry on the cake. Vocals maybe belonging in more traditional metal genres are employed in several really interesting moments on the record. “Black Liquid Marrow” shouldn’t work as well as it does in the pairing of yearning, almost howling vocals over the music underneath. The hardcore screams range from rasps to screeches and every emotion in between, tipping towards a raw screamo vibe on more than one occasion. “In Our Image” rips through a flurry of emotions, all delivered by the genuine kind of furious declarations of someone really feeling the moment.
Great vocals, yes, but the body of work isn’t complete without the interesting metal underneath. Metal is probably the best term to use because this thing really pulls from a lot of places, spinning plates on a tightrope wearing a suit made of burning snakes over a pit full of nerds arguing over genres. I’m all for the d-beating and grinding early on in the record but End of. pulls harder punches in the metalcore mashups with black and industrial flourishes. So many words but there is a lot happening. Keep up. Take “SoMe Riefensthal” and “Ghostwriters” individually, one a gang vocal assisted declaration of screamed emotional violence, the other an industrial track that bleeds perfectly into some chaotic, driving hardcore of the darkest order. Again, so many words, but this is fucking great so I need to use them all.
Attan’s debut will probably lead me to listen to some more black metal, some more metalcore, maybe even some more industrial(ish), maybe. That’s only after I listen to End of. a bunch more times and get it into the winter playlist. If you need something to blur the lines between your favourite bands from a bunch of styles of extreme music, I’d recommend a double dose of this record. Hitting nostalgic buttons is fine and well, but it takes some gusto and grit to use that to explore a new sound. Tusen Takk.